Connect with Firenze Made in Tuscany

Sign up our newsletter

Get more inspiration, tips and exclusive itineraries in Florence

David di Michelangelo

text Francesca Lombardi

October 26, 2020

Michelangelo's David

Michelangelo and the history of the emblem of strength and independence of Florence

The commission of the work was assigned to Michelangelo Buonarroti by the workers of the Cathedral of Florence on August 16, 1501, for a fee of 400 ducats. The 25 January 1504 a commission composed from the greater artists of the epoch (between the others, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Filippino Lippi, the Perugino) decided that the sculpture had to be placed to the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio, as emblem of the strength and independence of the Florentines. Here it remained until July 1873, when it was decided to move the work inside the Accademia Gallery to avoid that atmospheric agents could further damage it. On September 8, 1504 the statue was revealed to the city, arousing the admiration of all. Originally some parts were gilded: a garland on the head, the trunk (or broncone) behind the right leg and the slingshot. The sculpture, with the carved base, is 517 centimeters high and weighs 5560 kilos. The marble was carefully cleaned in 2003-2004 and is periodically dusted for maintenance, to allow a precise monitoring. David's confident gaze is directed at Florence's most fearsome rival: Rome, one of the many powerful neighboring cities that threatened the sovereignty of the Republic of Florence. Great attention is also paid to the hands and head, which are slightly out of proportion to the rest of the body. According to some scholars, these disproportions derive from the fact that Michelangelo had considered the high position on the buttresses of the Duomo, as was foreseen in the very first project. In this elevated place, these disproportions would have corrected the deformations produced by a bottom-up view. Another explanation could concern the artist's desire to emphasize intelligence, maximum concentration in the head, and the value of the weighted action through the right hand. Michelangelo paid particular attention to the eyes of his creature, grasping literally the Book of Samuel in which it is quoted that David had beautiful eyes: "yafe enaim vetov roi" (Samuel 6:12). Today in Florence there are 5 David, of which 3 linked to Michelangelo: the original at the Accademia, a copy of 1910 in Piazza della Signoria while we find an earlier copy in Piazzale Michelangelo. It dates back to June 25, 1873 and was towed by nine pairs of oxen. Nothing is comparable to the vision of the original: the extraordinary tribune of the Accademia offers an exciting and unique view of Michelangelo's Colossus. In the Gallery four other masterpieces of the Florentine genius, I Prigioni. For a visit book a ticket on


In this article we talked about Galleria dell’Accademia

You may be interested


Connect with Firenze Made in Tuscany